Chick-fil-A CEO, Gay-Rights Leader Make Peace

Monday, 28 Jan 2013 07:44 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy and the head of a national gay-rights group have made peace.

“I’ve gotten to know Dan; he’s gotten to know me,” Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, told ABC News on Monday. “He’s shared concerns about young people, about Chick-fil-A being used for certain purposes.”

In a radio interview last year, Cathy spoke against gay marriage.

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“We’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,” Cathy said in the interview.

“And I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.”

The comments caused Campus Pride to call for a national boycott of Chick-fil-A.

In response, millions of people visited the company on a “National Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” called by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

More than 21 million visited Huckabee’s Facebook page in support of the event, he said — and Chick-fil-A reported record sales that day, a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Windmeyer told ABC on Monday that Cathy called him last year, during the heat of the controversy. Cathy reached out seeking advice and understanding, he told ABC.

In fact, Windmeyer was a guest of Cathy’s at this year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl between LSU and Clemson at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, he told ABC.

Chick-fil-A, he told ABC, had stopped donating to anti-gay groups, according to his review of the company’s 990 tax forms.

Chick-fil-A long has donated to socially conservative groups. In July, the anti-gay group Equality Matters examined tax forms and found that in 2010 the company had donated more than $1.9 million to “anti-gay causes.”

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In September, the restaurant chain agreed to stop donating to anti-gay groups.

But Chick-fil-A said in a statement on Monday: “Over the past three years alone, Chick-fil-A has given more than $68 million in contributions to over 700 different educational and charitable organizations around the country, in addition to providing millions of dollars in food donations.

“While we evaluate individual donations on an annual basis, our giving is focused on three key areas: youth and education, leadership and family enrichment and serving the local communities in which we operate. Our intent is to not support political or social agendas. This has been the case for more than 60 years.”

More broadly, however, Windmeyer told ABC that, while he and Cathy disagree about gay marriage, they now have an understanding of each other as people.

“If my husband and I ever get the right to marry in North Carolina, I’ll include Dan Cathy on the guest list,” he told ABC News.


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